Marriage Certificate

As I sat on the carpeted floor I let out a sob, “It’s ruined!”

I’d been storing our marriage certificate and the printout of our wedding ceremony in a manila folder above the coats in our hallway closet. We’d only been married for a few months and weren’t fully moved in — the process of melding our lives, looking for duplicate movies, and combining our books wasn’t finished yet. It seemed like the safest place because it was out of the way, and there was no chance of it getting splashed if our cat tipped over a mug of tea when she was feeling ornery.

But it wasn’t the cat that got it.

Dish soap had been on sale, so I’d stocked up. And, because the Mr. Man and I were still figuring out where everything lived, the yellow soup-filled bottles were congregated on a ledge in the hallway. I swooped them up in a frenzy; a friend was coming to see our new place for the first time and I wanted the apartment to feel homey but, you know, perhaps a smidge closer to perfection.

I looked for an out of sight place I could store them — the closet! I quickly shoved my armload of dish soap onto the top shelf without thinking beyond the fact that I was running out of time to perfect-up the apartment. It wasn’t until I’d used up the current bottle of dish soap and went looking for another that I found the mess.

When I reached up to grab one of the bottles it was sticky on the bottom; one of them, like a drunk, had tipped over and spewed its contents all over its friends. My throat caught. Oh, no! I frantically grabbed the bottles of soap, practically throwing them onto the carpet, as I reached for the envelop containing the irreplaceable off-white piece of paper I’d signed at 2 pm on November 9th, 2013.

The envelop was a soggy messy as it dripped yellow soap onto the floor. I ripped it open, heart racing. The printout from the wedding, which had been sitting on top in the envelop, was beyond repair; it was now nothing but a small stack of wavy, yellow pages with smeared ink. The top right quarter of our marriage certificate had taken the brunt of the soapy assault and it dangled like a piece of cooked spaghetti, threatening to tear off.

I slumped down the wall as I stared at the sentimental carnage, tears starting to squirt. I wasn’t sure what to do with it now. I’d wanted to frame it; I’d wanted to hang it on the wall. But now it was a dripping, stained, soapy mess. Now it was ruined.

*****

Only few months later it seemed crazy that I’d ever cried over a piece of paper as I sat on the floor, mascara running, because I thought something even more valuable was ruined: my marriage. The pain and sense of hopelessness were suffocating.

Our first year of marriage was not the happy-go-lucky honeymoon phase people promise you when you get engaged. It didn’t feel like a fairy tale. It was hard; hard in so many different ways. And there were times we both thought we wouldn’t make it. But we did — holding on to each other tightly, we made it through.

Our marriage is a lot like our marriage certificate. There were times I thought that it was ruined; I thought it was going to rip. But it held together.

*****

When my husband found me crying over the spilled soap he cleaned it up as best he could, and later carefully ironed out the waves. There are wrinkles where it nearly ripped, and a section of it looks like we tie-dyed it using nothing but yellow. It isn’t perfect, but it isn’t ruined either.

Our marriage certificate is beautiful; yes, even beautiful enough to hang on the wall. It reflects life — not only the mess and the tears it caused but more importantly the love and care that went into cleaning it up. It reminds me that saying that marriage is hard doesn’t mean you’re less in love. And that things — whether sentimental souvenirs, the state of my apartment, or important relationships — don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Objectify

*Could also be called “Things Girls Learn in Youth Group.” And as strange as it is, all of the metaphors are things that were actually said.

The world outside the churchyard
Objectifies women
They said
Inside
I was
Safe

You’re a flower blooming
A pearl kept under lock and key
A gift with Future Husband’s name on it
(But you’re not an object)

The world outside the churchyard
Degrades women
They said
Inside
I was
Safe

You’re soiled snow
A candy bar that was licked
A white sheet rolled in the mud
(But you’re not an object)

The world outside the churchyard
Devalues women
They said
Inside
I was
Safe

You’re a used stick of gum
Duct tape that can no longer cling
A glass of water some boy has spit in
(But you’re not an object)

The world outside the churchyard
Sexualizes women
They said
Inside
I was
Safe

You’re forbidden fruit
The bate at the end of a fishing line
A bare shoulder that shouldn’t be showing
(But you’re not an object)

The world inside the churchyard
Objectifies women
I say
Inside
I wasn’t
Safe

Photographs I Didn’t Take {Dad}

Flickr CC Easa Shamih

Flickr CC Easa Shamih

I stand behind a line in the pavement like a twiggy blonde racehorse about to burst out of the starting gate. I’m barely school age but I feel like a champ because I’ve been running down this half a block five days a week for a long time. Or what at least feels like a long time to me.

Dad and I make eye contact and he smiles, eyes twinkling like Santa. I see dad put the key in the ignition and the engine wakes up sounding like an irritated adult in need of a coffee. And before dad can put the car in drive I’m flying down the street — running awkwardly, ineffectively, with every part of my body the way children my age so often do.

I whip my head back around to see the car getting closer and I laugh and try to force my legs to run a little farther. Dad sneaks up a little more, and I can see him smiling like he does every day when I race him.  “I’m catching up!” he says. But I’m just too fast and manage to hold onto first place.

I run past our next-door neighbor’s house who has a rhododendron forest instead of grass that I’m not supposed to play in. (I still do sometimes; all of the neighborhood kids do. The adults just don’t understand the play-potential that would be wasted if we didn’t.) I run past one of my friend’s houses and the tree we always climb. I run past the last house on the street; it feels so far away from my house even though it’s less than half a block. And I come to a stop right as I reach the end of our street, just as dad pulls up behind in second place. I’ve won again.

(I never suspect that maybe he lets me win.)

“Bye, Kelsey. You have a good day now. Love you!” Dad says, as he pulls the car onto the street.

“Bye, Daddy! I love you! Have a good day at work!” I’m jumping up and down, waving as hard as I can like a fan trying to elicit an encore. “Bye, Daddy! Have a good day at work! Bye! Bye, Daddy!” Dad sticks his hand out the window and briefly waves back at me, flashing me one last quick grin. “Bye,” I whisper one last time as I watch the car drive out of sight.

/////

“I’m confused,” I say and dad puts the book down for a moment. We’re sitting on the couch in the living room. We always have a chapter book that we’re slowly working through together, and lately we’ve been reading through the Anne of Green Gables series. “Why is Anne wearing the green dress?”

“Because Gilbert likes it,” dad says, repeating what the book just said.

I feel like he’s saying nonsense. I have no idea what wearing a pretty green dress could possibly have to do with Gilbert Bylthe.

“Anne likes Gilbert,” dad says by way of explanation.

Has dad not been paying any attention to this entire series? Gilbert called her carrots! Okay, so we’ve finally gotten to the point of sort of forgiving Gilbert and deciding that he isn’t so awful but like him? No, no one is at the point of liking him yet.

Dad tries to explain further but I don’t believe him.

Dad keeps reading. When it turns out that Anne does in fact like Gilbert, I’m shocked. It feels like the biggest plot surprise in the entire history of literature. Dad looks amused but I’m not sure why as I rant about the utter confusion and stupidity surrounding this sudden plot development.

/////

“What are the girl toys and boy toys today?” dad asks into the speaker at the McDonald’s drive through. The employee answers, the speaker makes it hard to understand even though it’s kind of loud. Dad turns to me, “Do you want a Barbie or a Hot Wheel with your Happy Meal?”

“Uh, a Hot Wheel!” I say. After he’s done ordering I ask, “Hey, dad? Why are they called boy toys and girl toys?”

“Some people are weird about toys,” he says pulling around the corner. “They think cars are only for boys and dolls are only for girls. But girls can play with cars and boys can play with dolls. They’re just toys. They’re for kids. So you can have whatever toy you want.”

Dad doesn’t know it but it’s as if the world (or at least the boy aisle at the toy store) has opened up to me.

/////

“My shoe laces are glowing!” I nearly yell in dad’s ear. We’re on the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland. I’m ten and this is the first time I’ve been to Disneyland; dad’s first time, too. And this is the very first ride of our trip.

I’d expected Disneyland to be like the rides and attractions at the fair with the addition of Mickey Mouse and a beautiful princess castle. But the Peter Pan ride is breathtaking. It’s like we’re in the movie! It’s like we’re flying right over Neverland!

And then I notice the lighting is making our white clothing glow. “My shoe laces are glowing!” It’s maybe even more exciting than seeing Peter Pan and Captain Hook. “Dad, your shirt is glowing too!”

“I know!” he says with a laugh.

“Look! Dad, look! It’s Peter Pan!”

“I know! I see!” he says smiling. He looks happy. He always looks happy when I’m excited.

/////

Dad and I sit in Starbucks. It’s early March so it’s still pretty cold out in the mornings. I’m in middle school and I’m drinking a vanilla steamer because coffee is gross and bitter. Besides, I’m a morning person like dad, so I don’t need the caffeine.

“Happy birthday!” dad says as he hands me my non-coffee and a brown paper Starbucks bag. I pull a coffee-brown bear dressed like a barista out from behind the tissue paper. I’ve always loved teddy bears.

We sit and talk as we sip our warm drinks as everyone else is yawning, stretching, and rubbing the last crusty bits of sleep out of their eyes. This is how birthdays are supposed to start; this is how mine always start. Dad’s been taking me to get a special non-coffee drink on the morning of my birthday for as long as I can remember.

A morning date with dad. A present just from him. The smell of freshly ground coffee beans. This is how birthdays start.

/////

“Who gave you flowers?” a friend asks.

“My dad,” I say sheepishly. When I was little I did ballet and it was expected that parents would give their little dancers flowers after they’re performance, and I’m not sure my dad has realized that same rule doesn’t apply to everything else.

I’m fourteen and I was just in a church play and I only had a handful of lines, but he bought me a bouquet as if I was the title lead.

“Aw, that’s sweet,” my friend says.

I smile, feeling awkward and a little embarrassed. I don’t like standing out and walking around with a bouquet makes feel less invisible that I’d care to be, but despite the embarrassment I love that I stand out as the teen who has an encouraging dad. The truth is that if I didn’t get flowers, I’d miss them. Flowers have become a ritual, thanks to dad.

/////

I’ve been gone for three and a half months. I spent the summer after high school volunteering abroad. And I’m home. I’ve missed home so much.

As I walk into my bedroom and notice that my bed is made, which I know is thanks to my dad. (Making my bed is not high on my list of priorities.) And there’s a tiny card in the center of my bed, and when I open it up in simply reads:

Welcome home! I missed you.

Love, Dad

He has no idea how much it means to me. How much I feel welcomed and home now. He has no idea how his little sweet, thoughtful gestures aren’t just nice, for me, they are home.

/////

“Now let’s do a picture with Ian and his parents,” the photographer says. My now-husband, as of a matter of minutes before, poses with his mom and dad for a couple of photographs. “Okay, good. Now one with Kelsey and her mom.” Not parents. No dad. Only mom.

Mom and I stand together. I feel a sharp twinge in my chest that I breathe my way through.

Several people had suggested that I could light a candle in honor of my dad at the wedding but I knew I didn’t need it. I don’t need it. Yes, I’m standing here in my wedding dress with a new gold ring on my finger. Yes, I’m happy and overwhelmed and ecstatic. But I don’t need a candle to notice that my dad isn’t here; there’s no way I could ever forget.

I take a private moment of silence as everyone poses and smiles and the photographer continues clicking away. I take a moment to whisper deep inside of me: Daddy, I miss you. 

Telling Myself I’m Beautiful

Flickr CC Emily

Flickr CC Emily

I drip some cold body lotion on to my hand and rub in gently on my upper arms and elbows — the part of my body that no matter how many times I drench it in lotion probably hasn’t been hydrated a day in my life. When I was a kid the dry bumps embarrassed me so much that I’d sometimes try to pick them off (this never ended well). And eventually I swore off tank tops in order to keep the dry bumps under wraps. Rubbing the lotion into my arm I take a moment to whisper, “You’re beautiful.”  Yes, you. With your super dry skin and not-exactly toned arms. You. Yes, you.

I squirt some more lotion onto my knees and work it up to my thighs. I used to refuse to wear shorts in the summer because I thought this region of my body was too knobby, too dry and bumpy, too flabby and cellulite-y to be allowed out in public. It was too ugly to be allowed to run free and wild about town; it might frighten the children or the old ladies. But I work the lotion in, gently, and whisper kindly, softly, “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you. You don’t need to be hidden and kept out of sight.

Rubbing the lotion into my stomach feels like a silent apology. I’ve said so many unkind, hurtful things about it. I’ve called it ugly, called it flabby and fat, and declared it the most embarrassing region of all. I realize as I work in the lotion that I’ve never been gentle, loving with it before; I’ve tried to suck it into jeans that were too tight, grabbed at the bits of loose skin in disgust, and I’ve put it on several diets. But never been gentle. I rub it with lotion and whisper softly as before, “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you. I’m sorry. I love.

I nearly, accidentally, skip my breasts completely. I’m so used to trying to ignore and conceal them. The goal for years was to minimize and hide them because breasts, I was told, caused men to stumble. They were the part of my body, more than any other, that could cause sin. When puberty hit, I hoped they’d barely be visible when they were done growing because that would make the goal of hiding them easier. Every time I had to go up a bra size I nearly cried. “Please, stop growing,” I remember silently pleading. Curvy. That’s never seemed like a good thing. But I said it to them as well: “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you.

I rub the leftover lotion that’s on my hands on my neck and under my ears. The skin under my left ear is bumpy, scared from an old surgery. I’ve tried every type of scar-be-gone cream from the drugstore on it. But it’s still there, hiding just under my ear and jawline. I’ve always planned my hairstyles and haircuts around hiding it; I’ve never wanted people to know it’s there. But I tell it, for the very first time, “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you.

I pull out my face lotion and squirt some in my hand, starting by rubbing it into my cheeks and then working outwards. I’ve spent so much time analyzing that face in the mirror. The scar from an old pimple I shouldn’t have picked at; the large pores around my nose; those hairs out of place; the dark lines under my eyes; the uneven patches of skin. I’ve spent so much money and time on trying to fix it or at least hide it. But I gently rub in the lotion and say, “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you.

As I put the cap back on the lotion I look over my skin one last time and remind myself, “You’re beautiful.” Yes, you.

Wild Mystic

Come,
Come into the forest
You’ve walked that dusty path too long

Come,
Come into the forest
That colorless track is not your home

You’re a wild mystic
An untamed artist
An enchantress wrapped in spiritskin

You’re a wild mystic
A fire dancer
A colorful poet drenched in danger

You’re a wild mystic
An erotic soul
A holy hellion with a hidden flame

The fire is calling
Dance, dance

The wind is calling
Dance, dance

The moon is calling
Dance, dance

Come,
Come into the forest
Put one trembling foot in the forbidden grass

Come,
Come into the forest
That narrow road is not a mystic’s path

The Morning Light

Flickr CC EladeManu

Flickr CC EladeManu

Today I’m happy to be guest posting over at Cara Meredith’s blog. She’s one of my favorite bloggers, and I’ve especially enjoyed her series Rituals, which I’m participating in today, because it highlights the ordinary rituals that add color and light to life. Cara is a talented writer so be sure to check out the rest of her blog while you’re there.

I shuffle from the kitchen in the direction of my desk, unshowered and still in my pajamas, a bowl of cold breakfast cereal with blueberries in my right hand and a mug of chamomile tea in my left. I pull out the chair and sit down at my oversized black desk. It’s perfect for art projects, laying out books while researching a paper, or collecting clutter. Today it just has clutter. After settling myself into my chair, I turn on my happy light. (Continue reading …)

Discovering My “Deep Zoo”

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Flickr CC Nilufer Gadgieva

I haven’t read artist Rikki Ducornet’s book The Deep Zoo, but recently I was told about the “deep zoo” concept as it relates to writing. And I feel like, as bloggers, that it as a lot of practical application for us.

So, what the heck is a “deep zoo?” Well, from what I understand it’s those things — objects, colors, locations, smells, foods, and so forth — that nearly drowns you in a tidal wave of memories and sensory detail. Those things that wrench up feelings that feel fresh, like you only just had them yesterday, but might be very old.

These wild, alive (maybe animal-like) recollections are what make up your deep zoo. And because there’s so much delight, agony, and beauty bubbling up when you hit something in your deep zoo, it gives you a lot to work with when it comes to writing. And that’s great for blogging.

For the last week I’ve been trying to compile a list of my own deep zoo items because I’m hoping to slowly blog through them. Here’s some of what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Sunflowers. I spent the summer after graduating from high school in a little town in Hungary where there were hurt-your-eyes-bright fields of these happy looking flowers. Sunflowers bring back my time living abroad.

2. Coffins. Because not everything in your deep zoo is going to be happy. My parents told me that my grandma had died, but I didn’t even really know what that meant. So I played with my toys in the car on the way to the funeral, not entirely sure why everyone was so sad. But then, as soon as I got there, I saw her — but at the same time it wasn’t really her — in the coffin. In a moment I experienced a major right of passage: I suddenly knew what death was. Add in an active little kid imagination, and you have a recipe for one traumatic afternoon. (To this day I’m still afraid of coffins and don’t think I’d ever be able to attend another open-casket funeral.)

3. Disneyland. I’ve been to Disneyland four times, and each time it’s been associated with a major life change. The first time was right after my grandma had died as a way of giving us a break. The next time we realized something was wrong with my dad while there, which lead to us finding out he had a deadly brain disorder. Another time I started going into anaphylactic shock due to exposure to peanuts and realized I needed to be a lot more careful. So while I do have the happy memories of screaming my head off on Splash Mountain and getting that annoying Small World song stuck in my head, there are some much more serious memories attached to the Happiest Place on Earth for me.

But I also have some very happy memories, too. The Mr. Man and I went there with his family right after we got engaged, so it was a major life change as I became accepted officially into their family and we started to say “‘when’ we get married” instead of “if.”

4. Christmas tree ornaments. It was always the same game every year: one of my small toys was on a pilgrimage to meet the great angel on the top of the tree, and would stop to visit other ornaments along their journey. (None of the travelers ever made it to the top because, well, I just couldn’t reach that far.) Christmas ornaments remind me of how I experienced the holidays as a child; it was a completely different thing than it is now.

5. Folding and hanging clothes. I worked retail for five years at several different clothing stores. And when I’d be working those quiet, sleepy shifts in the early morning or right before closing there wasn’t much to do other than fold and refold the tables of shirts and straighten the clearance rack. Putting clothing away always brings me back to working in the mall, quietly folding.

6. The bus. I was an avid bus rider for years (recently, due to health issues, it’s become necessary to give this annoying business of driving a go). And I have a lot of found memories of riding the bus. I rode the same bus so much that I can remember the jolting as it stopped to pick someone up, the regular passengers, and what it felt like sitting there people watching as everyone woke up in the morning. Riding the bus was such a great chance to observe people that it regularly inspired me to write.

7. I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This book was a staple in my evangelical youth group. It was THE book on relationships, romance, and sex. I read it so many times I probably could’ve quoted sections from it verbatim (sadly, that isn’t hyperbole). And it really screwed a lot of us up. It’s hard to think about it because it drags up so many memories, so much pain from my old youth group days. But there is certainly a lot of stories and feelings that come bubbling up when I think of that book.

8. Sand. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve playing on the beaching building houses with my family and playing in my sandbox. I still enjoy sand, but it always reminds me of being a kid; it epitomizes childhood for me.

9. Pike Place Market. The Mr. Man and I went there on our very first date. It’s where we really became a couple. Honestly, I think it’s even where we fell in love. And we’ve tried to go once during each season ever since. The sights, smells, sounds, and funky vibe of the market are the backdrop of some of my favorite memories.

10. Apple dumplings. My grandma made was an amazing cook. She loved to throw big holiday parties with lots of food and lots of homemade dessert. When you’re a kid most adults (reasonably) limit the number of desserts you get to have after dinner. But my grandma never did. She’d ask, “Do you want me to get out some vinilla ice cream for you to have with your pie? Do you want an apple dumpling too?” The warm smell of the freshly baked goodies and the sugar high that likely followed combined to make up some very happy holiday memories for me.

Honorable mentions: snow, American Girl dolls, Anne of Green Gables, late ’90s music, swing dancing, Christmas lights, lasagna, liturgy, The Berenstain Bears books, purity rings, Barbies.

So, what’s in your deep zoo? What foods or smells, songs, books, or places bring back a flood of memories? What things could you easily write and write and write about?

She Has a Body

You’re a good Christian girl
So you’re trying to hide your new breasts
Hiding them under that thick, baggy sweater
But it’s not working
And you begrudge your body all the more for it
Puberty is always hard, awkward
But it’s harder for you because every new curve
Every new bend, possesses a toxic magic
It can topple a man’s moral scruples in an instant,
Or so you’ve been told
So you cover it up, keep it out of sight
In order to protect the men

You’re a modest Christian girl
So you’re following all of the rules,
Or at least you’re trying to
They seem to be getting longer by the day
You try to avoid anything that will remind the boys
Remind them you’re a developing woman
With breasts and an ass
You avoid spaghetti straps and short shorts
You stay away from shirts that hug or cling
Not a piece of clothing in your closet hints at cleavage
And you know that if you wore a bikini on a summer day
That your very salvation would be questioned

You’re a feminine Christian girl
So you’re wearing your brunette hair long
Once you wanted to chop it off,
To wear it just above your chin
But boys like girls with long hair, you were told,
And it might even be a sin
You would’ve had to wear a hat to church,
A sign of your submission
But it would’ve felt like a sign of your shame
So you leave it long, flowing
Because when it comes to your hair, your body,
You don’t get the final word

You’re an innocent Christian girl
So you haven’t learned about your most secret anatomy
Someone tells you the clear unmentionable
You sometimes see in your underwear is part of your
Monthly cycle, nothing more
When you learn it has a function, that it relates to sex,
You’re wracked with guilt
If you’d truly been a good girl, you tell yourself,
You never would’ve seen it
You know it’s a sign of your shame
You must have lusted,
Even though you can’t recall

You’re a pure Christian girl
So you believe your body isn’t yours
You can’t touch it
It would compromise the quality of your virginity
Compromise your worth as a woman
And you can’t give that right to others
Because it isn’t yours to give
Your God bought you in blood, He owns you
Someday your father will give you away
Yet even now your body is already reserved, taken
You’re already Future Husband’s property
Even though you haven’t met

You’re a submissive Christian girl
So you’re afraid of marriage
Afraid of sex
Because your body will belong to your husband
It will be your daily duty to give him sex
However, whenever he wants it
And women don’t enjoy sex,
Or so you’ve been told
So sex will be an obligation, a chore, a wifely duty
And when he decides to pass on his name and DNA
You’ll dutifully forgo the condom without a word
Because your body is not your own

You’re a nice Christian girl
So you’re crying after making out with your boyfriend
You love him, and he loves you
But you feel like you kissed him too much
Hugged him for too long
Enjoyed it more than you should have
And you’re afraid that now you’ve lost something
A tiny piece of your purity has chipped off
Some of your value and worth has faded
It’s as if a man’s hand brands his signature into your flesh
And you feel a little bit damaged now,
A little bit ruined

You’re a virtuous Christian girl
So you know next to nothing about sex
You can’t even identify your own anatomy
And you think that’s as it ought to be
But you’re mentally unprepared for some
Hot night between the sheets
How can you enjoy sex when you’re so terrified the
Thought of it leaves you sobbing?
You don’t view yourself as a sexual being
And you’ve never been allowed to be one
But once you say “I do” you’ll feel completely responsible,
Responsible for the sexual happiness of another

You’re a virginal Christian girl
So you’re wondering what it’ll feel like
Feel like once your v-card has been punched
You’ve done the deed
Gone all the way
Done the nasty
Lost your virginity
You wonder what it feels like
To lose your most valuable possession
To lose what you’re told defines you
You wonder if you’ll feel different once it’s gone,
If you’ll feel the loss

You’re an educated Christian girl
So you know Adam was made in the image of God
You know how the Psalmist praised the Lord
For being fearfully and wonderfully made
How he felt he’d been knit together in his mother’s womb
But you don’t believe this applies to you, not really
At least not all of you, not all your parts
Not your sin-evoking curves
Or your shameful, bloody cycle
You don’t say it out loud, barely even in your heart
But you believe you’re a card-carrying member of
The second-best sex

You’re a devout Christian girl
So you flinch at the very idea of God being feminine
And the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end
Because this is the very worst kind of sacrilege
It’s creating God in your own image,
Or so you’ve been told
And you believe there could be no higher insult
And no greater offense
Than to say that the Creator of the Universe is maybe,
Just a little, like you
The felony of golden cattle can’t compare to female pronouns
To saying She has a body like yours

You’re a hurting Christian girl
So don’t know your worth, your value
You’ve internalized it all, every cutting lie
But, My dear little one, listen to Me
You bleed but you do not die
How are you weak?
You possess the gift to create life
How are you not magic?
Your curves and bends were sculpted, planned
How could they be shameful?
Dear little one, listen to Me,
I have a body like yours

What I’m Into {sort of}

I considered putting together a usual What I’m Into post for June, but the only thing I really wanted to talk about was my trip to Alaska. So for something different I’m taking a break from my end of the month What I’m Into thing and, instead, bombarding you with vacation pictures from our Alaskan cruise.

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The ship we were on was called the Wonder, and it’s a Disney Cruise Line ship. This means that there are some fun Disney touches here and there. (Yes, I know that I’m an adult but I love these fun little Disney details so much.)

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Getting ready to board the ship! I’m not sure you can fully see it in this picture but I’m wearing a Disney Cruise Line hoodie and a t-shirt with anchors on it because, hey, if you’re going to be a cruiser you might as well dress like one. I really embraced being a tourist on this vacation and even wore my Disney Cruise Line lanyard complete with room key when I was off the ship (but that was because I’d forgotten I was wearing it).

IMG_2361As the ship was getting ready to leave from Vancouver, Canada some Disney Characters came out for the Sail Away party on deck. It just wouldn’t be a Disney vacation without seeing Mickey.

IMG_2400At this point we’re coming up on the narrowest part of the Inside Passage that the ship will go through on the trip. (Do you spy Mickey at the very front of the ship?)

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The Mr. Man enjoying the view. This is the second day on our seven-day cruise. After this we spent the trip wearing winter sweaters, coats, scarfs, hats and gloves once we entered Alaska.

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I’m not going to lie, one of my very favorite part of going on a Disney Cruise is the food. As someone with a tremendous amount of food allergies just the fact that I’m able to eat is huge. It’s also the only way the Mr. Man and I can travel without having to worry about food; even if we were to take a short three-day weekend trip someplace close, we’d have to pack most of our own food so that I could eat. But on the cruise the chef makes food especially for me. Not having to worry about food made the whole trip so much more relaxing than a usual vacation.

IMG_2475The on deck movie theater, and the mountains that line the Inside Passage with a low flying cloud.

IMG_2516There were so many waterfalls. I took this picture while up on deck.

IMG_2529A mama seal and baby. One of the fun things about our cruise was that you could sometimes spot wildlife while you were up on deck.

IMG_2643The spectacular Tracy Arm. If you look very carefully you might be able to see a couple of very, very tiny dark dots on top of some of the floating pieces of ice. Those tiny dots are large, fully-grown seals.

IMG_2676I don’t remember what the husband said, but this was the response.

IMG_2727The person who offered to take our picture told us to look at the front of the ship. (I’m not sure why.)

IMG_2770 (2)The views were so breathtaking they often didn’t feel real.

IMG_2808A very cold and very wet Frozen themed party up on deck.

IMG_2884The Mendenhall Glacier  in Juneau.

IMG_2871Getting up close and personal with the waterfall from the previous picture.

IMG_2895The touristy areas of Alaska really embrace their colorful past.

IMG_2912The doors are magnetic so people decorate them. One of our favorite parts of the trip was how everyone on the ship referred to us as “the Munger family” because, that’s right, we are a family. A family of two but a family just the same.

So what have you been up to lately?

Little One

Today, Little One, I’m rejoicing
Today there is no longer gay marriage
And straight marriage
Officially recognized marriage
And debated marriage
There is just love
Love has won

Today, Little One, I’m crying
Because the world has shifted just a little
And this will be your world
A world where you can marry
Whomever you love
Love has won

Today, Little One, I’m hoping
If your love doesn’t fit some people’s standards
And you feel different
That you’ll be a little less afraid of loving
And of loving yourself
Love has won

Today, Little One, I’m praying
That you’ll never feel broken or damaged
And never feel ashamed
You’re fearfully and wonderfully made
No matter whom you love
Love has won

*While I’m not a parent, someday I would love to be one. So I found myself thinking about what the Supreme Court’s decision would mean for my own Little One if I’m ever a parent.